Saturday, August 8, 2015

Shifty Merc: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250 4-spd

The Mercedes-Benz W114 occupies one of those weird niches in the classic car world - it's old enough to be gazed upon fondly through the tint of nostalgia, yet not particularly revered among Euro car guys. Perhaps it's because it's the successor of the hipster-cool Heckflosse / Fintail sedans, but the predecessor of the granola munchers' standard-issue W123, and doesn't stand out as much as either of those generations. Regardless, it's a classic Paul Bracq design underpinned by relatively modern engineering and a great choice for Find this 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250 (with a manual transmission!) for sale in Montclair, CA for $7,500 via craigslist.

Today, Mercedes-Benz is starting to emulate BMW by releasing a new body style every week - there are sedans in 4 or 5 different echelons, coupe versions of the sedans, four-door versions of the two-door coupe versions of the sedans, crossovers in every size and flavor, personal roadsters, grand touring roadsters, AMG everything, a 911 fighter (and somehow, still, the Gelandewagen). Back in the late 60s however, you had two basic flavor of Merc 4-door to choose from: the W108 and the W114. No fuss, you'll get your two choices and you'll like it.

Yes, they made the SL roadsters and the dictator-spec 600 ubersedan, but your average distinguished older gentleman bought a W108 (S-Class) to be driven around in, and the aspiring youngsters bought a W114 because they couldn't afford the bigger car, or wanted to drive themselves around. To my eyes the smaller car looks like a truncated but still attractive and well proportioned version of the Bracq-designed classic W108 but without that car's ancient swing axle rear suspension or link pin front end.

True, you couldn't get a V8 in the W114 but the handling probably makes up for it. This was the sporting man's Merc, the one that could look equally at home in the valet section at the golf course or on a lively backroad cruise with a few tartan blankets and a picnic basket full of wine and hors d'oeuvres in the trunk. The interior has all the style of its bigger brother. The car shown here is priced at big bucks for a W114 but is an early example with small bumpers and narrow grille, has the 2.5L inline six, and a four-speed manual transmission - rare for any used Benz worth considering.

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  1. Always preferred these to the somewhat fussier W123 shape, and not just because my family doctor back in the day used to drive one.

  2. When I find something like this, I start to struggle with which flavor of post-fintail Benz I should get next. Huns and Vince swear by the W108 4.5, but this car might be more fun, with 3/4 of the style.

  3. Came very close to buying a 67 230s with 4 speed on the floor while in K-town Germany 1972

  4. I am all over these earlier w114's........if it was a 2 door and had a sunroof.though I could live with the four doors and a 4 speed if it had a sunroof.........and I dont know about the price..... mighty healthy. Be almost irresistable at 4500.00..........

    1. I can't remember the last time I actually opened or used a sun roof.

      All it does it cause worry about water leaks, and makes the car hotter in the summer.

      Even with dark tint and the shade closed, you can see feel the heat radiating off those stupid sunroofs.

      If you are talking about metal sunroofs, fine, you don't get the heat and the possibility of suddenly exploding glass, but you still have to worry about leaks.

    2. Me like sunroof. Exploding glass really? When was the last time it happened to you or ever.

  5. Gone already.
    It looks like this one had the dual carb set-up, which is odd because I thought that was only available on the 230 sedans and the 250's had fuel injection. But, I must be wrong. Ah well. I had a 230 with the dual zenith-stromberg carbs and they were my nemesis. When they ran well they were great but they were constantly getting out of sync for some reason, perhaps my ineptitude, and I always wished for the fuel injected set-up or to replace them with webers.


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